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Leadership & Staff | Course Directors | Clinical Supervisors | Research Faculty

Leadership & Staff

Martha Dudek, MS, LCGC

Martha Dudek, MS LCGC
Program Director
With more than 25 years of experience as a genetic counselor, Martha Dudek founded the Vanderbilt MGC in 2015 and has served as the program director ever since. Her clinical interests center on reproductive genetics, fetal abnormalities, and perinatal palliative care. As program director, she’s blazing trails in medical genetics education for learners at all levels. You’ll interact with her as course director for multiple foundational courses, but she’s also happy to talk with you specifically about genetic counseling in an Ob/Gyn setting.

Jill R. Slamon, M.A., M.G.C.

Jill Slamon, MA MS LCGC
Assistant Program Director
Jill Slamon brings significant science education experience from her years with Teach for America and designing STEM curriculum for inner city K-12 schools. Now she applies that education theory to her work as an MGC educator, teaching classes like Human Development and Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling. Since joining Vanderbilt in 2011, Slamon has supported genetic counseling faculty in their own course direction and co-led curricular design for the MGC program.

Elly Brokamp, MS, LCGC

Elly Brokamp, MS LCGC
Clinical Practicum Coordinator

As practicum coordinator, course director for three courses, and an admissions committee member, Elly Brokamp is dedicated to your trainee cohort from day one— including making sure you’re getting the most out of your practicum experiences. With experience with the NIH-funded Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) project, Brokamp also maintains an active interest in extremely rare diseases and now serves as a member of Vanderbilt’s in-house exome laboratory analysis team.

Randa E. Newman, M.S.

Randa Newman, MS LCGC
Assistant Clinical Practicum Coordinator

After a previous career in office management, nonprofit organizations, and medicare compliance, Randa Newman now shares her expertise in reproductive genetics by teaching two courses with the MGC: Topics in Clinical Genomics and the second installment of your research course. She’s also involved with research around health equity and improving outcomes for underrepresented minorities. As a previous LEND trainee and current medical genetics educator, she aims to provide each trainee with a well-rounded experience to apply to clinical practice and research.

Rizwan Hamid, MD, PhD

Rizwan Hamid, MD, PhD
Medical Director
An accomplished scholar and pediatrician, Dr. Hamid currently serves as the Dorothy Overall Wells Chair Pediatrics and Division Director for Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine. After completing his PhD and fellowship at Vanderbilt, Dr. Hamid later returned to VUSM to serve pediatric patients and carry out research in medical genetics and pediatrics. With over 32 years of experience in medical practice, he’ll be a crucial bridge between your MGC cohort and the medical settings where you’ll start your genetics journey.

Sonia Mitchell, BS

Sonia Mitchell
Program Coordinator
Sonia Mitchell will be your advocate and first point-of-contact for all things MGC. From individual course schedules to fun events with the whole cohort, she’ll help you build community within the MGC program and find your niche within the larger School of Medicine family. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her if you have questions about the MGC, life at VUSM, or Nashville in general.

Course Directors

Katherine Anderson, ScM, LCGC

Katherine Anderson, ScM LCGC
Since her research interests encompass policy, ethics, and genotype-phenotype correlations (among others), Katherine Anderson brings unique leadership to the two courses you’ll take with her in your training: Foundations of Genetics & Genomics and Medical Genetics 2. Here at Vanderbilt, Anderson is also involved with the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) project, and as a course director, she prioritizes teaching genetic conditions in a way that imitates real-life clinical work.

Laura Duncan, MS, LCGC

Laura Duncan, MS LCGC
With almost a decade of experience in pediatric genetic counseling, Laura Duncan is well-equipped to lead three of your foundational courses at Vanderbilt. She’s also involved with the Vanderbilt LEND program and with a project to build a network of providers from different specialties. She’ll give you direct insight into what it’s like to provide long-term care with an interprofessional team. What’s more, her connections with medical professionals outside of the genetic counseling sphere will help you build collegiality at a large academic medical center.

Gillian Hooker, PhD, ScM, LCGC

Gillian Hooker, PhD ScM LCGC
As the VP for clinical development at Concert Genetics, a health IT company based in Franklin, TN, Dr. Hooker brings dual expertise in genetic research and industry settings. Besides serving as the VP for clinical development at Concert Genetics, a health IT company based in Franklin, TN, Dr. Hooker teaches two courses with the MGC and was elected the 2020 President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Whether you’re interested in industry work, clinical research, or field leadership, Dr. Hooker exemplifies the breadth of possibilities within genetic counseling.

Caitlin Mann, MGC, LCGC

Caitlin Mann, MGC LCGC
Since joining the genetic counseling field, Caitlin Mann has been passionate about helping others find their niche within the field. Whether she’s guest-lecturing med students in the ob/gyn core clerkship, teaching undergraduate seminars about genetics and parenthood, or reviewing your MGC thesis project proposal, Mann is constantly dedicated to learners of all levels and interests. At Vanderbilt, she’s also involved with research around informed consent for genetic testing and alternative models for providing genetic counseling.

Lisa McGovern, LCSW

Lisa McGovern, LCSW
With over 25 years of experience as a social worker and therapist, Lisa McGovern has dedicated her career to helping people find interpersonal balance and improve relationships. In the MGC, she facilitates our Building a Self-Reflective Practice class, which will challenge you to think about your role as a medical professional and as a colleague. The skills she emphasizes— like metacognition, reflection, and empathy —will strengthen you in your future home and work life.

Mackenzie Mosera, MAT MS MPH LCGC

Mackenzie Mosera, MAT MS MPH LCGC
As course director for two crucial MGC courses (Medical Genetics I and Public Health Genetics), Mackenzie Mosera draws on her current experience in pediatric genetic counseling, as well as her past years teaching elementary school science for children who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing. At Vanderbilt, she continues to serve those impacted by hearing loss, and she’s currently a part of the Pulmonary Fibrosis research team.

Kelly Taylor, MS, LCGC

Kelly Taylor, MS LCGC
With over twenty years of experience as a clinical genetic counselor and researcher, Kelly Taylor is well-equipped to lead the two research courses you’ll take here as an MGC trainee. Over her almost two decades of work with the Vanderbilt community, she’s been consistently dedicated to training the next generation of genetic counselors and maintains a special interest in ethical and legal issues within the field.

Ferrin C. Wheeler, PhD
Since joining the Vanderbilt community in 2011, Dr. Wheeler has served as an invaluable expert in clinical cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics in cancer. Her research investigates cytogenomic microarray analysis for developmental disorders and congenital anomalies, and she brings this expertise to bear as she leads the laboratory sciences portion of Medical Genetics. Interested in what a thriving research career in genetics might look like? Dr. Wheeler can provide insight.

Clinical Supervisors

Paige Ernste, MS, LCGC
Assistant in Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Genetics and Genomic Medicine

Meredith Gerhart, MS, CGC
Associate in Medicine, Vanderbilt Hereditary Cancer Clinic

Brighton Goodhue, MS, LCGC
Assistant in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine

Arianna Guillard, MGC, LCGC
Reproductive Genetic Counselor/Assistant in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Jennifer Kennedy, MS, LCGC
Assistant in Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Genetic & Genomic Medicine

Katie Lang, MS LCGC
Senior Associate in Medicine

Emily Solem, MS, LCGC
Assistant in Pediatrics, Division of Genetics and Genomic Medicine

Brenda Zuñiga, MS, LCGC
Assistant in Medicine and Senior Research Manager

Research Faculty

Jennifer Ann Brault, MS, MD, FACMG

Joy Cogan, PhD

Laurie Connors, DNP, APNG, FNPBC, AGNBC

Nancy J. Cox, PhD

Kimberly Dahlman, PhD

Lea K. Davis, PhD

Digna Velez Edwards, PhD

Todd Edwards, PhD

Rizwan Hamid, MD, PhD, FAAP, FACMG

Natalie Nicole Owen, MSN, RN, CPNP

Tuya Pal, MD

John A. Phillips III, MD

Dan Roden, MD

Douglas Ruderfer, PhD

Shirley B. Russell, PhD

David Samuels, PhD

Janet Talbert, MS CGC

Cindy Vnencak-Jones, PhD

Ferrin Courtney Wheeler, PhD, FACMG

Georgia Wiesner, MD, MS

Ashwini Yenamandra, PhD, FACMG, MS